When was the last time you bailed?


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Brooks Ryan

Trad climber
San Francisco
Topic Author's Original Post - Dec 11, 2017 - 08:39am PT
Some days just don't go according to plan. I wrote down some thoughts about crummy days here: http://www.dirtbagjesus.com/2017/12/11/high-gravity-days/

When was the last time you called it early, how do you decide? Or do you always keep pushing on?

Trad climber
seige pitch 1
Dec 11, 2017 - 09:01am PT
my f*#king dog blew out her shoulder on
a deep and wild hike.

she was done for. she laid down
and clearly told me with eyes that
this was it.

so i did what any faithful god would
do and i laid down to die with her.

that little collie went on and on.
slight breath, a waning wag,
colder and colder breaths.

we laid there for about 3 days
and i got hella board. waiting for
hers and i's death.

you ever done that?
attempted to quickly traverse from one
soul domain to the other?

way frustrating.

so i bailed.
but i picked her up
and started humming my favorite songs:
pavane opus 50, jules massenet's Thais meditation, mirror in the mirror, dance of the blessed spirit, much ado about nothing, etc....

my legs were weak from 3 days without food or water,
and i had miles to hike, my little moutainette in my arms.

she died next to my heart.

i laid her to rest in some boulders by a lake
where she'd decomponse without remorse.

and i walked into my past, which somehow
in the weave of life got in front of my future.

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Dec 11, 2017 - 09:25am PT
I shoulda bailed from the pre-op room two weeks ago.
I knew they were gonna mess it up.

The Good Places
Dec 11, 2017 - 09:37am PT
dang, tolerant. peace be upon you and your companion.

I bail all the time. but then I'm mostly bailing off of new summits. those crappy old coonyard chocks ain't gonna spend themselves, and those spools of shoelace cord need unfurled and wilderness re-homed too.

I really really love the trajectory of such bail gear, the idea of it persisting independent and free up on that point of rock, traveling along in-situ as I dink around in the peopled world doing what I don't want to do.

Find it in the Ponderosa-studded granite of the Front Range, carry it along for months, bouncing in the truckbed. Eventually re-home it to a lonely rounded off ledge overlooking a resplendent, empty, brittlebrush badland, just the Front Range quicklink and a beater 'biner from atop a nothing Arches nubbin, hanging together from some antique chocks, waving in the wind and waiting, waiting, waiting for another visit, another iteration of human-destined recycling. Hopefully by me. :-)

norm larson

wilson, wyoming
Dec 11, 2017 - 09:44am PT
Yesterday, around noon.
Gnome Ofthe Diabase

Out Of Bed
Dec 11, 2017 - 10:56am PT
11/26 0r was it the 27th?

Trad climber
Dec 11, 2017 - 11:40am PT
Yesterday. Did 6 routes then bailed because I am just getting over a nasty cold and ran out of juice to do any more pullups on over hanging rock.

Mountain climber
The Deep Woods
Dec 11, 2017 - 12:10pm PT
pretty much anybody posting on st bailed on climbing today

The Good Places
Dec 11, 2017 - 12:14pm PT
3g at my new spot, panax. And now that you mention it, I SHOULD head out there right now!

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Dec 11, 2017 - 12:34pm PT
Funny story, thanks for posting!
Jay Smith and I had a major bail last January. We were trying a big new line on Cerro San Lorenzo, the second highest peak in Patagonia.
The weather windows were far from ideal. During one short window we managed to climb a fairly steep snow/ice couloir and leave a cache of screws and rock gear at the top of the couloir at the base of a rock headwall.
We went up a week later and sat out a storm in a bivy near the base of the couloir. The night before are attempt warm air swept in from the ocean. As we climbed the couloir rocks that had been imbedded in the frrozen snow and ice began melting out. The barrage increased to a super dangerous level especially because we were unroped on the steep couloir. We bailed 400 vertical feet below the cache and were very lucky to get down in one piece.
I can give anyone who wants terrific booty (new Petzel screws and Uktralight BD cams) exact coordinates and directions.

The Good Places
Dec 13, 2017 - 06:08pm PT

i DIDN'T bail on this, because i DIDN't get on it....


A long way from where I started
Dec 13, 2017 - 07:17pm PT
Bail? No, never have. But I've often decided that what I'd done so far was quite enough for the day. And, anyway, the decision between topping out and making it to the pub in time for dinner doesn't have anything to do with bailing, right?

Trad climber
Fair Oaks
Dec 13, 2017 - 08:11pm PT
This past summer, 230' up this choss pile was like climbing up a Jenga stack requiring 50' of unprotected downclimbing to find a barely acceptable crack for my bail anchor. You won't see a repeat attempt by me.

Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo CA
Dec 13, 2017 - 08:23pm PT
Late October 2016, from Wino Tower.

The weather just wore us down until we'd had enough. The relatively warm tropical storms abated long enough (about 18 hours) for us to get down before storms out of Alaska, bringing snow and freezing rain, moved in.

The next day, the base of El Capitan had two raging streams, one down each side.

It was the wettest October in California since 1879.


Social climber
Choss Creek, ID
Dec 13, 2017 - 08:25pm PT
Nice bails folks. You aren't hanging it out, in the mountains, if you are not bailing on occasion------or crippled, or dead.

The five stages of backing off climbs.


Dec 13, 2017 - 08:29pm PT
In years of Yosemite climbing (including 6 big walls), I think I only bailed once. Which means I'm crazy conservative about weather / conditions, or that I only climb easy sh#t, or that I'm just damn awesome.

Anyway, we bailed on the Salathe after my partner rapped off the end of his rope on the first rap on the way down from Heart (after climbing free blast on day 1). A line he was trailing snarled up in a ledge and arrested his fall.

Got out of the valley as fast we could and went and climbed the Matterhorn (Sierra, not Europe).



Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo CA
Dec 13, 2017 - 09:00pm PT

Anyway, we bailed on the Salathe after my partner rapped off the end of his rope on the first rap on the way down from Heart (after climbing free blast on day 1). A line he was trailing snarled up in a ledge and arrested his fall.


Apparently, it was the top of the Galleon Flake that caught him, and there really isn't much there to grab a rope, at all.

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Dec 13, 2017 - 09:05pm PT
How many times must I tell you that Walter Bonatti 'bailed' from the
Croz Spur 7 times before he sent it. He was just flavoring it.
Delhi Dog

Good Question...
Dec 13, 2017 - 09:35pm PT
I bailed yesterday.

From work.
And, they didn't miss me.


Dec 14, 2017 - 04:51am PT
Wow, tolerant, thank you for that.
unlocked gait

Gym climber
the range
Dec 14, 2017 - 05:01am PT
thanks mcreel,
my avatar has been dodgy lately,
but now it's fixed

i hope to be around awhile.

[Click to View YouTube Video]
Q- Ball

Mountain climber
but to scared to climb them anymore
Dec 14, 2017 - 05:08am PT
I was fishing solo in a small skiff for snapper. Dropping 3hook HES rigs about 700-900 feet. It took a lot for me to try and stay over the lines running my leaky boat and bringing in fish.

Then I noticed the bilge pump had cut out and I was sitting low in the water. I hand bailed for an hour and wasn't making headway. I gave it hell and roared towards some islands. I had so much water in the boat the bow was pointed to the sky and felt relief when I got close to shore and shallow water.

Eventually made it back to the nearest house 7 miles away. My buddy helped me bail and it took us two hours to get her dry. Ughh close call.
unlocked gait

Gym climber
the range
Dec 14, 2017 - 06:07am PT

i like me an old man of the sea story, anyday.

that cat didn't bail.
but i guess his boat wasn't leaking, like yours.

he also stayed the wary course, like you.

you suitors of the sea are so savy!

Mountain climber
The Ocean
Dec 14, 2017 - 07:14am PT
Going up the mast in choppy conditions a few days ago.

Trad climber
Mancos, CO & Bend, OR
Dec 14, 2017 - 08:40am PT
Good one Q.

When you bailed, you bailed!

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
Dec 22, 2017 - 01:11pm PT
2 bolts into a slab choss pile two weeks ago. Messy and wet. Went back last weekend to finish it when it was dry. Got it done. Will be a classic, no doubt.

No epic bail running from death warmed over, just bailed because I was done with the mess for the day. Now this week I have some knee swelling. Maybe I should have bailed again.


Boulder climber
Andy Cairns
Dec 22, 2017 - 05:26pm PT
Moving story, tolerant, but you shoulda started hiking sooner. With pooch in arms.

My last bail was after hiking to the top. Rap-in route. Did not rap in.


Boulder climber
Dec 22, 2017 - 05:57pm PT
In the shadows of the second huge rock slide we left a couple of hundred dollars of carabiners on New Dawn while down aiding through the night . On a positive note, we spruced up Lay Lady Ledge quite nicely- enjoy.

Grizzlyville, WY
Dec 30, 2017 - 10:16pm PT
Today. Because I'm a weak flaccid dog.
Don Lauria

Trad climber
Bishop, CA
Dec 30, 2017 - 11:42pm PT
I refer you to this threads 4th tale:

Sierra Ledge Rat

Mountain climber
Old and Broken Down in Appalachia
Dec 31, 2017 - 05:13am PT
Back when I was a teenage climber, an old climber looked at me skeptically when I told him that I was also a climber. He asked me how many times I had bailed, and when I told him my bail rate was about 50% he said, "Okay. You're a real climber."

Ever make a pact with God, that if he got you off the climb alive then you would never climb again? I guess I'm going to hell, 'cause I violated that pact a lot.
Messages 1 - 31 of total 31 in this topic
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